Col­lege old boy to rep­re­sent SA at World Champs

The Witness - - NEWS - JOSHUA PAR­SONS

MAR­ITZBURG Col­lege old boy Martin Binedell is set to gain much needed swim­ming ex­pe­ri­ence while rep­re­sent­ing South Africa in his first ever Fina World Cham­pi­onships in Hun­gary.

The com­pe­ti­tion, which is be­ing held in Bu­dapest, started on Fri­day and closes on July 30, which is Binedell’s birth­day. Binedell is the cur­rent South African and African Cham­pion in the 200 m back­stroke. The for­mer Mar­itzburg Col­lege pupil goes into the World Champs with high hopes.

“As it is the first time I am swim­ming in front of a 50 000­plus crowd and it is my first ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion, I think it would be great to make a semi­fi­nal; the top 16 in the world would be re­ally good.”

The 21­year­old said he and his coach have com­mit­ted the next four years to get­ting to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Out­side of swim­ming, Binedell is cur­rently study­ing for a B.Com in mar­ket­ing man­age­ment at Var­sity Col­lege in Westville.

“I don’t get too much free time out­side of swim­ming, but when I do I en­joy chill­ing with mates and go­ing for a surf,” he said. At the mo­ment Binedell does about 24 hours of train­ing a week.

“Swim­ming has been my life since pri­mary school and I can’t imag­ine my life with­out swim­ming,” he said.

He ad­vised young swim­mers to work hard. “I think the main thing is that there is no sub­sti­tute for hard work. The other thing is never give up on your dream. I have been through some rough times with my swim­ming and I have al­most given up and you’ve just got to keep push­ing and be­liev­ing and then trust that one day ev­ery­thing will fall into place and your dreams will come true.”

The cur­rent African cham­pion said he had high re­gard for for­mer Amer­i­can swim­mer Michael Phelps.

“My idol in swim­ming would have to be Michael Phelps be­cause of his achieve­ments, but more the way and man­ner he went about do­ing it. To me he’s a true pro­fes­sional and am­bas­sador of the sport. He’s al­ways been hum­ble both in his vic­to­ries and fail­ures,” he said.

The hum­ble young man ad­mits swim­ming is tougher than many peo­ple think.

“This year is turn­ing out to be very busy with in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions and train­ing camps, but un­for­tu­nately, I am re­quired to pay my own costs. This comes at a huge fi­nan­cial bur­den to me and my fam­ily who have been do­ing their best to sup­port my sport­ing ven­tures.”

Binedell is also very in­volved in life­sav­ing and was se­lected for the SA Still­wa­ter Life­sav­ing team to com­pete at the Com­mon­wealth Fes­ti­val of Life­sav­ing in Dur­ban in Au­gust.

He is also part of the high­per­for­mance squad to rep­re­sent SA at the Or­ange Cup life­sav­ing meet in Hol­land.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Mar­itzburg Col­lege old boy Martin Binedell will be rep­re­sent­ing South Africa in the 17th Fina World Cham­pi­onships tak­ing place in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary.

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